Qi Wireless Charging 101

The use of wireless charging is on the rise as consumers are eager to make wireless the norm in their lives. When it comes to cutting the cable, Qi (pronounced “chee”) is a proven standard backed by more than 200 companies, used in more than 500 certified products and in the devices of 50 million consumers. Qi Certified products have become the standard because they offer quality, safety and reliability that is backed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC)1.

Contents:

  • What is the Qi Wireless Charging Standard?
  • Benefits and Drawbacks
  • Single Coil vs. Multiple Coil
  • What’s Next for Wireless Charging
  • Industry Insights

What is the Qi Wireless Charging Standard?

Qi wireless charging is an open standard built cooperatively by a group of leading companies that comprise the WPC. This group understands the untapped potential of inductive charging to eliminate messy cables.

Qi works by using resonant inductive charging when a Qi enabled device is simply placed upon a charging station. The device battery charges as it remains in contact with the Qi base and will switch into standby mode when the battery is fully charged. The Qi charging station is only activated when an enabled device requiring a charge is placed upon it.

All indications show that Qi wireless charging will continue to rise. According to a WPC survey, consumers who use wireless charging grew from 10% in December 2016 to 40% in April 2018.2

 Wireless charging was all over CES 2018 with companies releasing a wide variety of new functions and styles. Qi wireless chargers were especially popular as the industry standard recognized by most major smartphone companies. With Apple® jumping on board the Qi charging trend with the newest iPhone releases and PowerMat announcing that all future chargers will include Qi, this standard is here to stay.


Benefits and Drawbacks

Qi wireless technology eliminates the need for device charging cords. The frustration of tangles, multiple cables for multiple devices and incompatibility between chargers is also eliminated. As more businesses adopt and implement Qi wireless charging stations, it is becoming easier than ever to find a convenient charging pad and ease battery anxiety.

Qi wireless charging may be more costly for manufacturers to implement in devices, especially when device weight and size and considerations. Currently, not all of the most popular devices have Qi compatible components so it has not yet become the universal standard of charging.

There is potential for wired charging to be eliminated completely for some devices, but today the technology is still in its infancy. While wireless charging is functional and convenient, there may be some circumstances where wired charging will always be preferred. However, when it comes to mobile phones and tablets all indications are that wireless charging will primarily replace cables.


Single Coil vs. Multiple Coil

When a Qi wireless charging station has a single coil the device must be placed in a pre-determined position on the pad to initiate charging. Multiple coils increase the charging area and eliminate the requirement to perfectly position a device to recharge the battery. Multiple coils may not increase charging speed or efficiency, but they do offer the greatest placement flexibility.


What’s Next for Wireless Charging

Over-the-air or proximity charging was the latest advancement in wireless charging shown by CES 2018 exhibitors.3 This technology uses radio waves to initiate charging on paired devices. Soon your device may start charging when you simply walk into a room that houses a receiver. Prototypes have shown this technology to work from up to 30 feet away and can be easily disguised in home décor like tiles and furniture.

Faster speeds will continue to be a driving force in the advancement of wireless charging. While 15-watt output is the maximum for Qi charging pads today that number is expected to nearly triple to 40-watts in the near future.


Industry Insights

Until a larger group of consumers are educated on the capabilities and safety of Qi wireless charging, end users may prefer the security of a trusted retail brand. Tech brands that are recognizable offer a sense of security in both the design and advanced technology. For budget-conscious clients, look for wireless charging stations that are Qi certified to ensure performance and safety.

As Qi wireless charging grows in popularity, the impact to industries served by promo products is limitless. Countless vertical markets and venues can stand to benefit by implementing Qi wireless charging as their standard. Hotels, restaurants, airports, offices and public venues used to supply multiple charging cables configured to suit different devices. Qi wireless technology will allow these businesses and organizations to have charging stations that charge Qi enabled devices from different manufacturers without the hassle of wires.

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